More and more research is coming forward in support of sleep for good health.
The latest research published in in the journal SLEEP shows that sleeping at least nine hours per night can have more control over your weight than genetics. Getting plenty of sleep gives you an edge if your genetics position you with a tendency to be overweight.
For this particular study, 1,088 sets of twins, both fraternal and identical, had their sleep habits examined along with their body weight. The conclusion of the study was that those who get plenty of sleep actually have more control over their weight through their behavior. Those in the study who slept less than seven hours each night showed a 70% difference in their body mass index (BMI) due to their genes, while things like diet and exercise were responsible for only 4%.
In contrast to that group, those who slept nine or more hours per night had a 51% difference in their BMI due to diet and exercise with only 32% of the difference coming from genes.
The big picture with this research is that more sleep can decrease the effect your genes might have on your weight and allow your efforts of dieting and exercising to be more effective. Lead author of the research, Nathaniel F. Watson stated, “The less you sleep, the more important genetic factors are to how much you weigh. The longer you sleep, the greater the influence of environmental factors like meal composition and timing.”
The utilization of twin siblings was necessary to observe the same DNA from identical twins so that the differences in weight could be credited to diet and exercise rather than genes. Fraternal twins share a similar background and risk factors, but they do not share identical DNA.
Studies like this one prove that in addition to diet and exercise to lose weight, we need to be considering our sleeping habits. Although it may be difficult for anyone with a job, a family or a busy schedule to sleep nine or more hours each night, this study does offer some helpful information. Numerous studies have pointed to the importance of adequate sleep when trying to reach or maintain a healthy weight. When trying to lose weight, getting adequate sleep can ensure that the weight you lose comes from your fat stores rather than from muscle or just water.